Wonderful, wavey and everything in-between, all things Allan Kingdom wants his listeners to feel when the beat courses through their body. The 20 year old artist/producer and St. Paul resident has been feeling these emotions and more since releasing his latest project “Future Memoirs” in June. From working with Plain Pat to creating characters to portray when making new music, this rising star is just looking to make people happy and spread his sound to as many ears as possible. We recently caught up with the self proclaimed Northern Gentleman in the Twin Cities, here’s what he had to say.
Story by: Taylor Lovaas
TL: Since releasing Future Memoirs you have been gaining recognition like crazy, so what’s changed since then? How does it feel to be Allan Kingdom?
AK: I don’t know, I feel like I get to express myself to more people, do you know what I mean? Everything is more fulfilling [laughs] that’s the biggest thing. I try not to think about it too much besides the fact that i’ll be able to make more people happy.
TL: So you think people are understanding you more? You’re able to put out exactly what you want to convey?
AK: Exactly, I feel like I have more free reign on what I want to do. Because when I release stuff it’s a conversation. I can say something and then I know if people like what I said or if they don’t like what I said and that in turn makes me a better speaker. You know what I mean? I love releasing things, I just feel like I’m better at expressing myself.
TL: So will you explain your nickname “The Peanut Butter Prince?”
AK: It’s like my complexion, [laughs] everyone always says dark skin or light skin, I just thought I would make my own thing. Just be funny you know? I just like coming up with nicknames, like different characters.
TL: Okay, so different songs do you portray different characters?
AK: Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. Different songs I feel like different characters, on Future Memoirs “Work Me Over” that’s the Peanut Butter Prince, you know what i’m saying? And then “Context” is probably like the Northern Gentleman. I just like to play with it, it just helps me come up with different songs. Because I feel like sometimes you just get tied down to one personality.
TL: I feel like you get ideas for songs just from walking around during the day, is that accurate?
AK: I write like that mostly in my head, like I still do this with my iPhone but I did it with my flip phone too. I would record a lot of voice notes, so I would just be walking around like you said and see something and a melody will come into my head and I’ll rap it or sing it. That’s mainly how it happens but like throughout the day if i’m looking through my phone and not looking around then I might not get those ideas in the first place, I don’t like to be distracted.
TL: I can definitely hear that in your music, it all seems so natural.
AK: Thanks, I try to keep it like that. I try not to put too much thought into something, like when i’m trying to put too much thought into a song when I’m like what else needs to happen? That’s when I know it’s done. You know what i’m saying? When I start thinking too hard about it or when I start losing sleep over it that’s when I know the project is done.
TL: You kind of got your start through working with Plain Pat, you want to explain that a little bit?
AK: Oh definitely, what do you want to know? [laughs]
TL: I guess just how it started, I read that it started on twitter.
AK: Yeah twitter mutual friends.
TL: Twitter is a beautiful thing isn’t it?
AK: Yeah, I was with with my man Checho and I was trying to figure out how to make things happen, just really thinking who do I have to connect with in order to get my vision to the world? I just thought its probably Plain Pat, I was thinking back to who I look up to and who they work with and what they’ve done and he was the one that made the most sense. It’s like i’m not going to link up with Kanye right away you know what I mean? I’m not going to link up with Pharrell right away and Plain Pat was definitely the person where we could do something together right away… I was on the internet doing research and watching interviews seeing who his friends were, and then I got cool with his friends and his friends really liked my music. That was cool because they could have not liked my music and been like this sucks. They liked it and sent it to him…. He DM’d me when I was 17 and he was like “wow man just heard ‘Thirsty’ and watched the video, your music is crazy, it’s really intimidating that you’re 17.” It was wild I was bugging out, I still don’t believe him, I feel like he was messing with me [laughs]. I thought he was just giving me a generous compliment, but we’ve developed a relationship throughout the years, kind of like a sensei.
TL: That’s how you would describe the relationship?
AK: Yeah, he’s seen a lot of people come up and he’s seen a lot of people fall so he just knows the patterns and the game, it’s cool to learn from him. The stuff that he worked on with Kid Cudi, the stuff that he worked on with Kanye, it changed my life, the guy just gets it.
TL: You were featured on the 25 rappers to watch out for in 2014 and the 15 producers to watch out for in 2014 on Complex Magazine, what does that mean to you?
AK: It’s crazy! It’s so wild because I feel like my whole generation that makes music right now doesn’t really want to be put into a box. Nobody really wants to be like “oh i’m a rapper or i’m a producer” and coming from a generation that’s like that or maybe just a sub-culture that’s like that it’s just wild because it’s not like I’m trying to be the best rapper. That was never my intention, I just want to express myself and just get better at making music. So being on both of those lists is really cool because I don’t really think of myself in those terms but it’s dope that other people do.
TL: You were just with Close Sessions in Chicago and I saw mention of a documentary, can you talk a little about that?
AK: Yeah I can talk about that, Closed Sessions does this thing, they did it with Curren$y and they did it with Chance The Rapper I believe. They have a thing where it’s like 48 hours with them, you make a song, they have in-studio footage of you and your creative process, they link you up with a producer and you create a song and do a show and an interview… So its a documentary series and they just cram it all in a small amount of time.
TL: Sounds really cool do you know when it’s coming out?
AK: I’m not sure, they’re still editing it, they have so much footage from it.
TL: So did you co-produce the song?
AK: No, actually when I got there I didn’t even know what I was going to have to do, I thought I was just going to get there and chill and all of the sudden they brought a producer in the room and said hey you’re making a song [laughs]
TL: Did you have anything on you? Like a written or something or did you just hear the beat and go from there?
AK: I just heard the beat and then I just wrote the song that day, that’s usually how I make stuff. Most of the time if a song takes two or three days to make I probably won’t be releasing it. All of my music I sit down and make it in that session, even if i’m making a beat I usually finish like 90% of it in that session, everything else is just tweaking.
TL: So you listen to all types of music, do you think that has helped you expand on the range of music you’re comfortable creating?
AK: Yeah definitely, there’s obviously lot’s of different categories of music. There’s certain music for me right now the way I’m looking at it that expresses sensitivity and other music that expresses power. I feel like the balance of both of those is very necessary in order to really hit somebody.
TL: So what are your goals right now as an artist?
AK: I have a lot of goals but just getting my music to as many people as possible, that’s my main one, making as many people feel good as possible. I keep it at that, because I feel like if I say things like start a label it’s just a cap, I know I want to do those things but I don’t want them to be the end point. I don’t want anyone to look at me and see an end point so I like to just do things and release them as I do them. Talking about like a clothing line or whatever, maybe switch lanes. I’m always going to do music, always, but i’m finding out I have new interests. I’m finding out I really like cars, I just like to design things in general, aesthetics of everything. So I really don’t like to put a cap on it.
Listen and download Future Memoirs.